How to bring together remote staff

If you have remote employees, you’ll know how important they are to the success of your company. But unless they are managed properly, working at a distance can affect productivity and morale.

It’s important you make them feel part of the team, so here are some handy inclusion techniques to help keep them on-side.

Remote working – employees working from home or another location – is becoming more popular. June 2014 data from the Office for National Statistics shows 4.2 million people, or 13.9% of the working population, work remotely in the UK – the highest rate since records began.

Man on a Video Call From Home to his Colleagues at Work

It’s not surprising. Advances in technology have made remote working perfectly possible and it provides an answer to the work-life balance many employees crave today. It works for employers too – the benefits of remote working include:

 increased productivity
 employee retention
 better use of technology
 lower central office costs

But it’s not without its challenges. One of the main problems with remote working is the effect on collaboration and communication. Because remote employees are exactly that – remote – it can make them feel distant and not included, all of which can impact on company culture.

So how can you bring remote workers together?

3 tips for working together better

Actually meet
Regularly meet your remote staff face-to-face – run quarterly away days, company workshops and meetings. Getting them into the office, even if it’s for a day once every 3 months or so, allows them to meet their colleagues and get a feel for the office vibe. Take them out to lunch, introduce them to different departments, say well done.

Use technology to improve collaboration
There are a host of tools that allow remote workers to keep in touch with the office, wherever they are. Well-worn products like Skype and Google Drive make video conferencing and document collaboration easy and, best of all, they’re free.

Man Working on his Laptop in the Comfort of his House

Run remote/office projects
It’s easy to think of a remote team as separate to the office-based one. But this can only serve to create division. One idea is to encourage greater collaboration between staff across the company by putting remote and office-based staff on the same project. By its very nature, this will encourage more communication and collaboration between your team.

3 things you might not know about remote working

• Nearly 60% of firms have employees who work remotely, according to the Confederation of British Industry

• Remote workers are more satisfied with their jobs, according to Future of Working and HP

• 81% of UK workers would like more flexible working patterns, the same research shows

Posted by Ashleigh Sharp

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